Ecofys, Royal HaskoningDHV and the China Academy of Transportation Sciences (CATS) presented the ‘Beijing Bicycle Strategy and Policy’ to revive cycling in Beijing Municipality on 25 May 2015.
The project, initiated and funded by the Asian Development Bank, aims to help the megacity to achieve more sustainable mobility.
The city of Beijing is experiencing increased motorization and congestion which causes travel delays, economic loss and air pollution among other things. In recent decades, cycling has decreased substantially: from 63% in 1986 to 14% in 2012 and continues to fall.
20% cycling in 2020
Mr Ki-Joon Kim, Senior Transport Specialist at the Asian Development Bank said: “Cycling can make a substantial contribution to promoting sustainable transport in Beijing. Beijing Municipality has acknowledged this and set a goal in its Urban Master Plan to raise the bicycle share of transportation to at least 20% in 2020.”
Mr Wim van der Wijk, Team Leader and Bicycle Transport Expert at Royal HaskoningDHV added: “This bicycle plan will help Beijing to become a healthy and bicycle-friendly city for its population of more than 20 million people.”
During the past year Ecofys-Royal HaskoningDHV-CATS studied the current transport situation in Beijing including exploring the reason behind the decline in bicycle use. The team has developed a strategy to reverse the trend, and submitted the recommendations to the Asian Development Bank and Beijing Municipality.
“Our vision for Beijing includes high quality bicycle routes and parking facilities, upgrading and extending the public bicycle sharing system, more trip destinations within bike-able distances and integration of cycling with a high quality public transport system for commuting,” Mr Van der Wijk said. “Most importantly, it identifies the need for an institutional setting that recognises cycling as an integral part of urban transport planning, with high level politicians and officers promoting cycling with enthusiasm. This requires a cultural change within the existing institutions in power.”
I like cycling
One of the major challenges to encourage Beijing residents to return to cycling is the perception that cycling is not an option for daily use and that a car is an indicator of success. “In order to grow a positive and appealing cycling culture we have provided numerous recommendations and actions for Beijing Municipality to select from,” said Mr Maarten Neelis, regional manager for Ecofys in China.
As part of this project, a bicycle policy toolkit has also been produced. The toolkit has the potential for application in major cities across Asia and the Pacific. The toolkit will be made publicly available through the Asian Development Bank.
The Beijing Bicycle Strategy and Policy was presented by Mr Wim van der Wijk to relevant officials at the Beijing Bicycle Seminar at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beijing on 25 May 2015.
“It will require a major effort from the Municipality to achieve its own goal of 20% cycling in 2020. This plan will definitely help them get there and turn Beijing into a healthier city,” Mr Kim concluded.